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Wenger's Seven Deadly Sins

There are a few glaring weaknesses in how Wenger runs the club that I don`t think a lot of us would deny.

1) Giving too much time for players to prove themselves. Whilst we have produced a lot of world class players with this philosophy, it has also hindered us from achieving our real potential. For example playing the likes of Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry et c., with Stepanov, Cygan, et c. Playing RvP, Fab & Nasri with Senderos, Almunia, Denilson, Diaby. These flops were given the luxury of at least 2 seasons to prove how bad they were when they would not even be given 2 games in other top clubs.

2) Not attacking the opponent's weaknesses and not protecting our own weaknesses. We rarely change a game plan to take advantage of the opponent's weakness. Fat Sam attacked Fabianski with aerial challenges when he identified the keeper as the team's weakest link. Many teams attacked us with long balls to the flank when they know our fullbacks are always in the other half. Of course, our weakness in defending set pieces is legendary and well exploited. Mourinho once commented that playing us was easy because the game plan never changed no matter who played. He never lost a game against Wenger. These weaknesses were identified more than 6-7 years ago and they are still plaguing the team. If you could not right a wrong in more than 300 games, there must be some serious problems.

3) Wages equality policy. Until Citeh came into picture, our total wages were very close to ManU & Chelsea when Fab was still on 80k and RvP 60k. Considering Rooney, Ronaldo, Lampard, Terry etc were earning more than 130k then, it shows how flawed our policy was - and still is.

4) Not considering the players' ability in a tactical game plan. Diaby as a left winger, Walcott as right winger, Denilson as defensive midfielder and Jenkinson as wingback? Even Djourou came in as wingback on the right against Blackburn if memory serves me right. Need I say more?

5) Haggling for pennies. In the past we lost C. Ronaldo when he indicated he wanted to play for us as his idol was Henry then. We refused to pay for him. In recent years, there were countless players that we lost just because we refused to pay another million or 2.

6) Renewing contracts too late. It has to do with the stingy nature of how the club is run. Clubs commonly sign players for 4 years and renew every 2. We do not start serious negotiation until the 3rd year just to save on the signing on fees I suppose. As the contracts run nearer to expiry, the players' bargaining power increases and we have to pay more ultimately. Nevertheless, in most cases, we did not end up paying more because we either lose them on a Bosman (Edu & Flamini) or we were forced to sell on cheap - classic example of being penny wise pound foolish.

7) Not doing the math. We paid about £13m for Nasri. He was here for 3 seasons, playing no more than 30 games per season or about 50% of the total fixtures. (Author's correction: * Nasri did play more than 30 games per season in total. Nevertheless we did lose him for many games in the 3 years) He was paid about 60k (more than £9 mil over 3 years). Adding the signing on fees, he cost us about £25m to make him the star he is today and Citeh paid us just that. Same applied to Adebayor and Fab. We are not getting a good deal in the end because for every good player, we have produced at least 3 Denilsons, Senderos' and Diabies.

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The Journalist

Writer: Joe_@** Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday October 6 2011

Time: 12:33PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
On point 1- how long did Ferguson hold onto Brown and O'Shea? Still has Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson too. Chelsea and Kalou? Mikel? All clubs have squad players. On point 4- didn't Valencia play at right back for United's last match? Fletcher and Carrick played as centre halves last season. City have deployed Balotelli as a left winger this season. Teams ask players to do different jobs sometimes. Look at VdV's comments this week about playing on the right wing v Arsenal. 6- wrong since Dein left. Nasri was offered deals well before this summer. You can't always legislate for a player running a deal down, unless you can afford to give them the sky. We can't. 7- contradicts point 5 somewhat.
Little Dutch
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06/10/2011 13:22:00

Similar comments to those of LD: 1. Do you know how many games did Henry have to play for AFC before he scored his first goal? Inter Milan did not have a lot of patience with a certain Mr. Bergkamp, we all now how that turned out. 3. That worked more-less to the same degree for the championship winning teams. 4. You can have max 7 players on the bench not eleven. Some positions are well and some less covered.
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06/10/2011 13:32:00

I think you can look at any manager and find fault, I suppose the bonus is that in wenger perhaps he only has seven faults to worry about. Lets be honest, some of those may very well be justified, but I am betting 99% of you would look upon him as one of the greats and he has done wonders for you as a club. As a Spurs fan I may like the opportunity to have a dig at him, but I would have loved to see him making those SEVEN mistakes for us over the last fifteen years...
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06/10/2011 14:17:00

I am inclined to agree with points 1,2,3 and 4 in their entirity.Not so sure about the other 3 points though,albeit i contend that you are not unreasonable to suggest them!!! That being said though, I do not think any objective gooner will disagree that Wenger's misplace faith and loyalty in quite a number of fairly mediocre squad members, has over the last 6 seasons, contributed to what can best be termed as our "loss of invincibility" on the playing side of things. I suspect that Wenger will not divert from his ways but I sincerely hope and pray that the next 31 games of the Premier League Season will bring more joy than sorrow to us Gooners..Up The Arse!!!!!
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06/10/2011 14:27:00

Spurs fan here. I'll try and give an honest opinion. Firstly Wenger inherited as good a back line as I have seen in my 27 yrs. It hasn't been replaced. during the purple patch Wenger had as Arsenal manager he by luck or judgement found the blue print for what is pretty much the perfect team (again part of that was the great defence). Arsenal were rock solid at the back, Tough in centre midfield, pace out wide with loads of goals and had an absolutely lethal striker who did a lot more than just score. For one reason or another he seems to have strayed from this blue print. Why has he not identified the next His new Viera was Diaby. His new Pires was Rosicky. Basically, when quality players have left, they have not been replaced with players that are as good.
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06/10/2011 15:23:00

Point #2 is by far the most relevant & the only real quibble I have with AW's management of our club
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06/10/2011 15:54:00

Was the backline Wenger inherited better than the back line he put together that went a season unbeaten?
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06/10/2011 16:00:00

Lauren - Toure - Campbell - Cole was every bit as good as the defence he inherited. It's a common misconception that Wenger could concentrate on his attacking options because the foundations had already been laid for him.
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06/10/2011 16:15:00

LD Utd won that match with Valencia at rb, evans and gibson were part of a title winning team, seevral times. Balotelli played left in the game city won. Don;t you notice the slight differences between their results and ours. Manager DO play players out of position but not for 3 years!!! Couldn't agree with point 5 more, it doesn't contradict point 7 as they haggled over pennies and lost out, where doe sthat contradict point 7?
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06/10/2011 16:45:00

Agree & disagree with some of these. While LD makes some good points I think LG answers them well. For me a key weakness is discussed toward the 2nd half of this article: . Yes I know it's the onlinegooner and I'm not crazy about most of the stuff on there but I like that particular writer's analyses on tactics, formations, etc.
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06/10/2011 17:12:00

A few points on this much-debated issue of the defense AW inherited and the Invincibles defense... We know from comments made by that backline he inherited that AW basically let the defensive organization/tactics/etc in their hands. I remember Tony Adams saying how that backline were at one point very frustrated with Petit & Vieira's defensive work. Adams had to talk to AW about it-and AW confronted Petit & Vieira about it. It took Adams confronting AW about the issue for AW to deal with it. His former players all say he does not like confrontation. The defensive players that AW signed to succeed that first backline came when some of those original Graham-era players were still there--there was a transition period. That defensive culture was still there. The new players learned alongside veterans. Plus they already knew quite a lot themselves, like Sol. So I don't really think AW spent an awful lot of time with them on defensive coaching. AW's approach is to let players figure things out for themselves. Plus the Invincibles were gifted with a very clinical, powerful frontline & midfield who had a strong understanding with the backline. There was also the fact that they played at a time when most other PL teams had not yet raised their defensive game the way they have now. You can point to the Invincibles all you want-simple fact is that the clear, unambiguous evidence before our eyes is that since the Invincibles AW has been incapable of building an organized defense supported by a clinical attack/midfield on a consistent basis. We've seen it sometimes-we saw it brilliantly in 07-08. But he hasn't been able to instill that culture into his young recruits so that it sticks and becomes a permanent feature of their identity. Either he's not telling them (or telling them enuf) or they're not listening. And it doesn't matter who the players are. The same characteristics remain even when players move on and new ones come in.
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06/10/2011 17:32:00

i am surprised that my comment on another article is published here. first and foremost, i would like to clarify that my comment was not a direct attack on wenger. i was merely pointing to the management of the club as a whole. secondly, i did state my reservation on my point no. 1. having said that, i am sure a lot of you do not need reminding on how many times we cursed & how long we yearned to have a proper gk after jens & also getting rid of players like cygan & sanderos. on point no. 4, of course every team needs squad player & utility man. we had a few good ones like parlour, edu and flamini who performed admirably when they played out of position. the problem with us is we were playing diaby, walcott, bendtner, arshavin etc out of position not because of need but by choice. other teams played their players out of position only when they were forced to, and they made sure these players were not exposed. remember how jenkinson played as a wingback in the mu match & how walcott almost never tracked back against players like nani & rooney? it was just so wrong. the rest of the points are up for debate. i am not going to insist i am absolutely right
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06/10/2011 17:50:00

LG point 7 contradicts point 5 because point 5 says we haggle over pennies, yet point 7 criticises us for recouping the £25m we spent over Nasri's contract, when the only other option was to lose him for free. Do we break even or do we make a £25m loss. Business wise, not a difficult call and hardly haggling over pennies. I don't recall anyone at the club saying we'd made a huge profit on Nasri over the course of his contract. Even so, breaking even for 3 years of service and negotiating from such a weak point ain't bad business. My point is all managers ask players to play out of position. Some of Wenger's most successful teams saw players pulled all over the place. Toure and Lauren came to us as wingers. Ashley Cole came to Wenger's notice as a striker. Ljungberg played off the front man in Sweden. Petit had been a CB his entire career before joining Arsenal. The point isn't about playing players out of position. If you want to talk about the comparative quality of United's players, our past players and those we have now, I think we have a different argument. But the playing out of position line is a strawman for me.
Little Dutch
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06/10/2011 18:04:00

Wenger has slowly turned Arsenal into a shambles. He is in denial. But hey, long, long may it continue.
Tony Rocky Horror
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06/10/2011 20:23:00

Wenger has slowly turned Arsenal into a shambles. He is in denial. But hey, long, long may it continue.
Tony Rocky Horror
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06/10/2011 20:23:00

On pt 3, the Board has an equal responsibility. I realize that there is this whole image built of Arsene controlling everything at the club, but the Board has the final say on wages & contracts, and they need to take the onus for a few things that are not going well at the club.
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06/10/2011 21:20:00

LD - One is to do with purchasing players the other is with selling players, to me that is completely different philosophies and in no way contradict each other.
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07/10/2011 10:44:00

Are they? Transfer policy encapsulates all of those things. Besides which, when did anyone at the club say we'd made a huge profit on Nasri? In which case, the £25m we got for Nasri is going straight into Arteta. We bought him for £10m on a contract worth a total of £15m and, given he's nearly 30, we don't stand to recoup any of that. I'm not sure there's much concrete evidence we've lost out on players over pennies. Alonso is the popular story, but that deal was always linked with Liverpool getting Barry- which they didn't. But I don't think we have anywhere enough detail to make that accusation. If we're talking Cahill (I think we dodged a bullet by not having to pay any money for him at all, totally average), then it's probably a simple conclusion that Mertesacker was better value. If his name was Peter Murphy and he had 77 England caps at 26 and had captained Liverpool for the last four years he'd have cost more than £8m and would've been viewed a much better signing than Cahill at £17m.
Little Dutch
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07/10/2011 10:51:00

LD - I then take it you don't disagree with my assessment of Utd and City playing players out of position? Players playing out of position doesn't work for us, it isn't working for us and I cannot see it working for us currently. It maybe worked previously, 10+ years previously but what does that have to do with anything now, it's as irrelevant as Liverpool's "fabulous" past they keep telling us about. It's what's happening now that counts and players being played out of position is currently (one of the reasons) helping us to a whopping 15th in the league table. Strawman or not, it isn't working is it? Wenger didn't turn Cole into a LB, he was already playing left back for the youth team after a stint as a striker. Lauren played as a DM for Mallorca and Toure played as a utility midfielder Ljungberg played anywhere across the front of an attacking midfield left, right or centre. Which if I remember rightly he also did for us didn't he? Constantly swapping sides with Pires and arriving late into the box from every angle.
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07/10/2011 11:03:00

...and now it turns out we spent £10 million + on transfers and around £100k per week on wages to two players, neither of whom had a medical!! Like we don't have enough trouble with injuries already? Which other "big" club would EVER consider doing that during a 3 month long transfer window, just an hour before it closes and 3 weeks into the god damn season. Honestly, the more you look back at Arsenal's summer the more you realise what a complete ***king cock up the whole of the club made of it and that is a disgrace in this day and age. Gazidis tried to blag his way through it saying "the best deals yadda, cheaper players later on yadda" when it turns out they just ballsed the whole thing up. I am completely embarrassed by Arsenals ineptitude this summer and if it ever happens again heads MUST roll for this incompetence.
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07/10/2011 11:07:00

Our management claim we're a big club but continually act two bob.
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07/10/2011 11:51:00

I'm not sure that this lack of a medical thing isn't overdone. I hear that Benayoun hadn't had a medical but he's a loan signing. The loan agreement may well have had some caveat about his medical/physical condition. Also any other transfer may well have been on the basis of some assurances about pre-existing medical conditions. I'm all for criticism where it's due but it does seem as though we're looking to pick up any brick we can find to lob through the Emirates windows.
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07/10/2011 11:52:00

I was going to write out a rebuttal to each of your points, but most of them have already been answered quite succinctly. I would add, as I have on other topics here, that these facets of the club/manager weren't criticised a few years ago when the same man ran the club in exactly the same way. The difference? we were going through a better spell. In a good spell 'the man's a genius', and when things are tough 'he's not good at this, at that, get him out'.
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07/10/2011 12:21:00

Damiano I just don't understand these constant rebuttals referring to Wenger's success in the past, why do you constantly fall back on that? It's nice to reflect on it at times but it's no excuse for these flacid performances we've been seeing for the better part of a year now, you can't keep harping on about it mate. I agree that some people are getting in a tizzy over a not a lot, the medical thing is worth noting though and it's also worth noting Amos that you're completely speculating there and IF there is some sort of "assurance" what good would that do us?! "Here, Yossi's injured but you can have Mata instead"
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07/10/2011 12:49:00

Amos - Agreed, It may well of been written into the contracts, but if they were negotiated at a sensible hour and not 3 weeks into the season when we already knew at the start of the summer we would be losing Fabregas then there wouldn't be anything to pick them up on, as they ballsed it all up, that is the point I am highlighting. It's very simple.
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07/10/2011 13:45:00

It doesn't make much sense at all to be precious over one piece of speculation in a whole sea of speculation. Nobody knows what the agreements are. It's all speculation and quite often plain invention. We do know Benayoun's a one year loan signing. The risk is therefore minimal. If there's a long term injury particularly related to a pre-existing condition then the agreement may be void. Sure it's speculation (it may even be solutionising) but it's speculation anyway that the club haven't made an agreement that doesn't protect their interests in a professional manner.
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07/10/2011 13:46:00

damiano_tommassi - Succinctly? Really? If that was to me, then I would love for your to point out where, because I sure as hell cannot see anything succinctly rebutting my points or anything else. Enlighten me. For the record I never called Wenger a genius, never have, never will. So the words you put in my mouth have been succinctly rebutted also. it used to be enough to show a black and whit esilent film in cinemas to keep audineces happy, what worked in the past doesn't mean it will work now and only an complete idiot wouldn't be able to realise this.
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07/10/2011 13:48:00

A few seasons back we knew that we were losing Vieira to Real Madrid. Very late in the day he decided not to go. Nothing is absolutely certain until it's done.
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07/10/2011 13:49:00

Amos - Again mate, if the club had done the business we know they needed to in a timely non amateurish fashion we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
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07/10/2011 13:50:00

We were not strong enough WITH Fabregas and Nasri so why was this not addressed earlier in the summer knowing there was an excellent chance that both would be leaving? Why are we the ones always scraping round at the back end of the transfer window or 3 weeks into the bloody season. We had the money to spend, we still do, why could we not strengthen our team earlier, we had 3 months and it all boiled down to the last few hours, that is completely unprofessional imho, completely.
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07/10/2011 13:54:00

LG, as a quick example, Amos wrote 'We do know Benayoun's a one year loan signing. The risk is therefore minimal.' I didn't put words in your mouth, I paraphrased what I've read on here (and didn't apply any of it to you). I don't understand your anger and aggression. "if the club had done the business we know they needed to in a timely non amateurish fashion we wouldn't even be having this conversation" - business like signing Mertesacker? A player that said 'Arsenal tried to sign me a year ago but my club wouldn't let me leave'? That's not particularly shambolic, is it. "We were not strong enough WITH Fabregas and Nasri" - in what sense? Should we have held a gun to their heads until they signed a new, long contract? "we had 3 months and it all boiled down to the last few hours" - didn't all of the top clubs make moves on the last day? Didn't Chelsea nick Mata off of us last minute by offering ridiculous wages, meaning we had to re-adjust?
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07/10/2011 14:05:00

I'm sure the club would have preferred to do the deals they wanted to do early in the season. They did some deals early and were clearly working on others that just didn't happen. It's pure fantasy to imagine that it's easy to put complicated multi million pound deals together involving 3 or more different parties and interests. Again it's only speculation but it's reasonable to assume that once it became clear that the deals they wanted to do couldn't be done in time (if at all) then they went for the deals they could do. It's just as amateurish and unprofessional to assume that all the club needed to do was to decide what players they wanted and then go out and buy them and as when it suited them.
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07/10/2011 14:05:00

Like I said, all successful teams have demanded flexibility from their players. It's not position swapping that's the issue, probably more to do with the quality and experience of those we're asking to do it. In truth, I'm struggling to think of a single player in our team that is being played out of position persistently. There's a lot saying Theo should be a striker, but he's never really played there in his professional career. (I doubt he has the skillset to do it anyway at this point). Toure's debut for us was as a left winger. He played upfront before we moved him to CB. Things aren't going well at the moment, but there's no evidence to suggest that that's just cos we're playing players out of position. Otherwise, we could say absolutely everything we're doing is wrong and we should completely reverse absolutely everything until it goes right again. It takes a little more analysis than that
Little Dutch
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07/10/2011 14:28:00

damiano_tommassi - So how would you describe the summer transfer window from Arsneal's perspective? Successful? Decisive?
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07/10/2011 16:00:00

LD - I didn't say that was the only reason, in fact I was very careful to highlight the fact that it was one of the many reasons.
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07/10/2011 16:02:00

LG - disappointing. i think everyone connected with Arsenal - fans, players, you and me - were all disappointed to have lost the players that we did and disappointed that we couldn't immediately replace them with players capable of turning up and doing the same job as CF and SN from day one. I think were the difference lies is that some people think this is because the board/manager etc. were incompetent, and some people think that's just life - you don't always get what you want. I would want SN to have signed a contract - but you'd best believe after years of scouting, coaching and mentoring, so did Arsene Wenger. i don't doubt for a second that he made every effort to keep the boy. But if you can't, you can't, and you move on. I believe (might be wrong) that he had identified Mata as a good replacement, made an approach, agreed a transfer fee, came close to agreeing wages, and was then gazumped by Chelsea offering silly wages. So, for me, I don't see any concrete evidence of Arsenal Football Club or anyone connected with it doing anything A) incompetent or b) negligent.
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07/10/2011 16:22:00

i dont get the argument of pt 5 contradicting with pt 7 at all. i would like to stress that we fully deserve the payment of 25 mil for nasri. In facts we even deserve more as the premium for the cost of all the "unwanted side productions". i was trying to make a point that we were always so cheapskate in our offer for top players. putting ourselves in the shoes of the selling clubs, why should they sell us their top players for anything less just like how we would not sell if citeh came knocking with 15 mil for nasri. in fact pt 5 complements pt 7 in the sense that we should not try to rip off everyone everytime because all good players incurred substantial cost to develop and from the selling club’s perspective, it is stupid to sell your best players even if the amount is huge because for all you know, it is not even enough to cover the opportunity cost if one takes into consideration the number of title winning chances the club missed while educating them
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07/10/2011 17:01:00

3 is startling.
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08/10/2011 01:59:00


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